"I just finished watching the newly released Special Edition of Holiday Inn. I was AMAZED at the clarity of the picture. I've never seen a print of this film looking so pristine. Even on just a regular, 20" non-HDTV set, the hairs askew on top of Bing's toupee during the famous White Christmas scene are plainly visible. Now if you can see single hairs on a person's head during a medium shot on a small television set, that's a stunningly clear picture!
The audio as well is crisp and clear with rich bass and treble tones. If you watch the film with the audio commentary on, you'll hear the dulcet tones of Ken Barnes relating some fascinating tidbits about the making of the film, the songs (one particularly interesting part concerns the verse to White Christmas), the cast, etc. All is enhanced by sound bites from Bing and Fred Astaire themselves in archive audio material from the 1970's. As an example, Bing speaks of the continuing sales of his recording of White Christmas as late as 1974, how he felt it was due in part to people giving the record as a Christmas gift.
The real gems are the bonus features, particularly the 45 minute long mini feature A Couple of Song & Dance Men. Ken Barnes is joined by Fred Astaire's lovely daughter Ava sharing biographical memories of both Bing and Fred, along with trivia tidbits. Ava shows and reads some of the letters Fred Astaire wrote to his wife while on a USO tour in England with Bing in 1944, and telegrams to Fred from Bing, Cole Porter, and Irving Berlin are also shown on screen. All is pieced together nicely with song excerpts from Bing's films, coming attractions trailers, and newsreel footage, including Bing opening the Stage Door Canteen in 1944.
The other, shorter bonus feature runs 7 minutes and is titled All Singing - All Dancing. Ken shares some rare behind the scenes photos and techniques of how musical numbers were filmed, beginning with the early talkies. He shows how the orchestra and singer were together on the set and recorded as one.
The original theatrical trailer for Holiday Inn is also included.
All is wrapped up nicely with a slip-cover that goes over the DVD case. When compared with the two-on-one DVD of Holiday Inn and Going My Way that's been out for many years now, the difference in quality is plainly visible. The Holiday Inn print looks somewhat fuzzy or "muddy" in quality when watched after seeing the brilliance of the newly restored print used on this Special Edition.
In short, this is a DVD that's well worth having. If you want the definitive presentation of this classic Holiday film, this is it! Bravo Ken & co."
Presented in Glorious Black & White
Glenn M. Schoditsch | Richmond, Virginia USA | 10/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I always felt this movie deserved a restoration to preserve its 1942 style B&W richness. Unfortunately this movie has NOT been restored to its original rich and pristine Black & White splendor! It HAS been remastered meaning no cuts or deletions and also includes an approximate 42 minute mini biography of both Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby and a short piece about the making of the song and dance numbers of Holiday Inn.
A holiday perennial along with Miracle on 34th St. and It's A Wonderful Life, this new release is truly a Special Edition!"
Perfect Holiday film
Jim Monroe | Leon, IA United States | 11/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a wonderful 1940s musical. While the plot is thin, the music by Irving Berlin is fantastic. Fred Astair's dancing in the firecracker number is incredible. I first saw this about five years ago and it is now a holiday tradition. This special edition DVD is the clearest version I have seen."
Year round holiday classic!
Long Island, East, member | USA | 09/06/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For us, this movie is far superior to WHITE CHRISTMAS. It stars Fred Astaire and Bing Cosby as competive entertainers. Fred is the dancer (great scenes in this) , BING is the singer. (Bum, bum, bum, bum - - Bing adopted his "style" because he sometimes forgot the words. but, he maintained the music of the melody with his bum, bum, bum, bum s'-- a little trivia) Anyway, Bing grows tired of the cut-throat entertainment biz after his fiance' decides to marry someone else. He moves out of the city and up to a wintry zone, taking over an old motel. Since he is set to become a lazy owner, he vows only to open the motel for HOLIDAYS, hence HOLIDAY INN. Every holiday is represented, including CHRISTMAS with age-old hit, WHITE CHRISTMAS. Performances with Marjorie Reynolds ( who plays Linda Mason, an upstart want-to-be ) and Virginia Dale ( Lila Dixon, Bing's here today, gone for stardom ex-fiance') are excellent. If you are looking for this movie for Christmas, get it now. Last year, it sold out early, pretty much like every year."
Kick your troubles down the stairs and come to Holiday Inn!
Mark Savary | Seattle, WA | 12/31/1997
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the finest holiday films ever made. Inspired by a story by Irving Berlin, the film features many wonderful Berlin holiday tunes, from "White Christmas" to "Easter Parade". This is the film that introduced "White Christmas", Bing Crosby's signature song (which was almost cut from the final version!). Holiday hijinks ensue when Jim Hardy (Bing Crosby), decides that he's had enough of show business and chooses to retire to a farm in Connecticut. His pal and partner Ted Hanover (Fred Astaire) steals his gal Lyla at the last minute, so Jim takes up the life of a farmer on his own. Unfortunately for Jim, the farm life drives him nuts. He decides to turn the farm into an inn, where he can do entertainment shows for every holiday. The result is Holiday Inn, "open holidays only". Jim meets and falls in love with Linda Mason (Marjorie Reynolds), a fellow entertainer, and she helps out with the shows. Things are looking up for Jim, but about this time, Ted's girl Lyla leaves him. Heartbroken (and crocked), Ted shows up at Holiday Inn on New Year's Eve and does a new dance number with Linda. It looks like he's found himself a new dance partner. Trouble is, he was so drunk, he can't remember who she is! Jim knows if Ted hooks up with Linda, he'll take her away from the Inn (and him!), so Jim begins some comedic conniving to keep Ted and Linda from meeting up. But poor Jim isn't out of the stewpot yet!Walter Abel turns in a wonderful supporting perfomance as a scheming talent agent, and Irving Bacon is the quintissential New Englander as Gus the handyman. Fred does an inspired July Fourth dance routine, and Bing is in fine voice.Holiday Inn has it all. Romance, laughter, crooning, catchy Irving Berlin tunes, and Bing and Fred at their best! We also get a sneak peek at the soundstage and set for Holiday Inn, as a Hollywood crew make a movie within the movie! A Christmas classic you're sure to love, not only at Christmastime, but at any time of the year. If you need a lift, then come to Holiday Inn!"